The intermediate level Organisation and management of a laboratory consists of seven activities. Each activity includes a text to read, followed by a test comprising a few simple questions to measure your mastery of the subject. At the end of the intermediate level, a summary test will be offered to you. Its results will determine your access to the advanced level.
First, we will situate the role of plant health laboratories within the overall framework of regulations, standards and international agreements that govern and facilitate trade.
By identifying their various tasks, we will better understand the characteristics of each type of laboratory, and the quality requirements of the methods used to analyse samples.
We will then focus on the organisation and management of analytical laboratories. We will specify the requirements for quality management and to obtain accreditation according to international standard ISO/IEC 17025 or for certification according to Good Laboratory Practices.
We will see what infrastructure, resources, equipment and staff skills are required to qualify, and consider the containment requirements and specific equipment needed for a plant health laboratory. Finally, we will discuss metrology – in particular, we will define the role of standards in validating analytical chains, and differentiate between accuracy, error and measurement uncertainty.
The advanced level of Route 5 (Organisation and management of a laboratory) consists of six activities. Each activity includes a text to read, followed by a test comprising a few simple questions to measure your mastery of the subject. At the end of Route 5, a summary test will be offered to you. Its results will determine your access to the certification test.
This section focuses on methods, the writing of analysis reports, and laboratories’ business plans.
We will present three types of methods with different scope and requirements: analytical methods to determine concentrations of heavy metals, mycotoxins or pesticide residues; methods to detect human pathogens in food; and methods to detect regulated pests on plants.
Methods of all types must be validated before delivering a reliable result. We will therefore look at the validation principles and performance criteria of an analytical method.
We will also consider how to interpret analytical results and present a report, for example in the context of an inspection.
Finally, we will see how a laboratory can ensure a sustainable service, in a sometimes unfavourable environment, through a fair assessment of needs, the calculation of analytical costs and the development of a viable business plan.”